Sketches on Atheism

Well, this is a little embarrassing, isn’t it?

Oops-sorry-signThere are degrees of embarrassment; those graceless, mostly self-inflicted pickles which typically range from the mild unease of being caught in a harmless white lie to the runaway shame of accidently sinking your own flagship, the HMS Victoria, as the British Navy did during a somewhat poorly thought-through parade manoeuvre in Tripoli Harbour, 1893. Stupendously embarrassing, unquestionably, but even this rather awkward moment in history pales to the almost unfathomable humiliation awaiting the triune of Abrahamic religions the moment they confess to their congregations what’s been known for well over a generation: Abraham and Moses never existed, the Hebrews were never enslaved in Egypt, the Exodus never happened, and there was never a triumphant conquest of Canaan.

“It’s been decades since we’ve known… what’s the hold up?” asked Israel Finkelstein, the chairman of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University. The period of the patriarchs, exodus, conquest, or judges as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed,” asserted Robert Coote, Senior Research Professor of Hebrew Exegesis at San Francisco’s Theological Seminary. “The Genesis and Exodus accounts are a fiction,” noted the biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche of the University of Copenhagen. “The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” concluded Baruch Halpern, Professor of Jewish Studies of Pennsylvania State University. The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land. Those who take an interest have known these facts for years,” declared famed Israeli archeologist, Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University. “Scholars have known these things for a long time, but we’ve broken the news very gently,” explained one of America’s preeminent archaeologists, Professor William Dever of the University of Arizona… an admission which then inspired Christianity Today’s Kevin D. Miller to concede: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.”

It’s troubling, to be sure, when experts in the field are so certain and candid about the deception going on, but things turn positively ghastly for Yahwehists when the present day custodians of the patriarchal tales, the Jewish rabbis, also start owning up to the farce. “Defending a rabbi in the 21st century for saying the Exodus story isn’t factual is like defending him for saying the Earth isn’t flat. It’s neither new nor shocking to most of us that the Earth is round or that the Torah isn’t a history book dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai,” espoused Rabbi Steven Leder of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Etz_Hayim_HumashAt the time Leder was speaking on behalf of Rabbi David Wolpe of the Conservative Sinai Temple (Los Angeles) who’d days earlier told his 2,300 strong congregation,The rejection of the Bible as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.”  Wolpe, importantly, was also a contributor to the Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary; the first authorised commentary on the Torah since 1936. Published in 2001 by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (in collaboration with the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Publication Society) the 1,559 page long Etz Hayim concludes with 41 essays written by prominent rabbis and scholars who admit the Pentateuch is little more than a self-serving myth rife with anachronisms and un-ignorable archeological inconsistencies, and rather than triumphant conquest, Israel instead emerged slowly and relatively peacefully out of the general Canaanite population with monotheism only appearing in the post-Exilic period, 5th Century BCE. “Most people just don’t want to hear all this and are not comfortable with it,” explained Israel Finkelstein, adding, “For scholars the matters are clear enough, and they know where there is, and is not, agreement, but they cannot compel the public to listen.”

So let’s cut to the chase: Admitting there was no Abraham, no Moses and no Exodus (which in-turn means no revelation) must be considered the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga pepper of embarrassments Scoville scale. It’s murderously inconvenient for Jews, but utterly devastating for Christians and Muslims whose central characters both make clear and specific claims to the existence of the Jewish patriarchs. In Islam, Musa (Moses) is considered a prophet and is mentioned 136 times in the Qur’an, and Abraham (mentioned 69 times) is even described as the Middle Eastern gods best friend: Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend.” For Christians Jesus is equally careless, naming Moses in Matthew, and stating eighteen times in John that Abraham existed. Now let’s be brutally honest here; such barefaced testimonies raise some enormously unpleasant credibility problems for both religions. It doesn’t, after all, speak too highly of a god-man’s authority, intelligence, competence, insight and judgment if he couldn’t distinguish the difference between fairytale and history.

Awkward, and the question left staring Yahwehists in the face is not an easy one to navigate without injury. How does an “Abrahamic Religion” proceed knowing Abraham, the first Yahwehist, never existed, and the sages they worship were (self-evidently) delusionary and deceitful ignoramuses? we're sorryFor the answer Christians and Muslims should perhaps look to Rabbi Wolpe who calls for full disclosure followed by rational dialogue as the only way to calmly exorcise the historical blunder presently being practiced by 3.5 billion woefully mistaken individuals: Such startling propositions, the product of findings by archaeologists, have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis… but there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity until now. It is time for people to know about it.”

I (and I believe every rational person on the planet) agree, and so let the conversation begin, and may it mean a swift end to this childish nonsense once and for all.

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192 thoughts on “Well, this is a little embarrassing, isn’t it?

  1. Ah, but…

    1: I was assured just two weeks ago that “archaeology … has only confirmed everything in the Bible.”
    2: Those books you mention are, indeed, in the Bible.
    3: Therefore they are factual, and you’re just a big meany!

    On the other hand

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  2. Damn, the next thing you’ll be telling us is that the rabbit in Harvey isn’t real!

    But can you imagine the conversation among the evangelicals . . . I can only wish they televise it! (Aw, shit! It ain’t true like we said. Our bad!)

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    • Oh no, Harvey’s real… but he’s not a rabbit, just a Púca who happens to resemble a very tall bunny.

      Afraid to say the standing army of batshit crazy evangelicals will carry on as per usual: ignore, deflect, and scream hallelujah as they hate everything under the sun! It’s the kiddies with their brains still turned on we’re interested in…

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    • Errrr, there’s a hyperlink right there, PeW. Go to the articles under the short intro. Quite fascinating. Incredible detail which i won’t even try to summarise.

      Did you know Yahweh had a wife? I didn’t!

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      • Why are you playing dumb?

        The Yahweh (fairy) tale begins with Abraham, supposedly around 2,000BCE. No Abraham, no Yahweh. There was no Moses, no exodus… no Commandments… no Yahweh. There was no conquest. Yahwehism, we now know, only emerged between the 7th and 5th Centuries BCE.

        Read the articles then get back to me. The history of Jewish polytheistic worship is fascinating.

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      • Veles is the one true Lord of all. Be careful, or he’ll hide your car keys!

        It’ll take you a while to wade through all those docs, but I really like this part:

        “How many gods, exactly, did Israel have?
        Together with the historical and political aspects, there are also doubts as to the credibility of the information about belief and worship. The question about the date at which monotheism was adopted by the kingdoms of Israel and Judea arose with the discovery of inscriptions in ancient Hebrew that mention a pair of gods: YHWH and his Asherath. At two sites, Kuntilet Ajrud in the southwestern part of the Negev hill region, and Khirbet el-Kom in the Judea piedmont, Hebrew inscriptions have been found that mention ‘YHWH and his Asherah’, ‘YHWH Shomron and his Asherah’, ‘YHWH Teman and his Asherah’. The authors were familiar with a pair of gods, YHWH and his consort Asherah, and send blessings in the couple’s name.
        These inscriptions, from the 8th century BCE, raise the possibility that monotheism, as a state religion, is actually an innovation of the period of the Kingdom of Judea, following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel.”

        So your Middle Eastern god had a WIFE!!! Makes you wonder why he had to knock-up Mary then, doesn’t it?

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      • I watched a documentary ages ago that went on about God’s wife, but I don’t remember any of the details particularly well. Apparently there are carving and amulets that depict God with a wife, and apparently in Earlier translations of the Bible the Bible says God has a wife, but she’s been translated out… becoming something arbitrary, like a stone.
        If true, that was no small revision to the Bible, either. God’s wife was indeed a God alongside Yahweh, not some arbitrary figure.

        However (and I don’t like this) I have to agree with PaW: rebutting all of the mortal myths surrounding Yahweh does not rebut Yahweh Himself.

        You know that stupid quote that goes around every so often, where it is claimed that Einstein debunked the problem of evil by comparing evil to cold and to dark (i.e. just the absence of something else). Well, if you could debunk the idea that Einstein said that you do not, in turn, debunk Einstein.

        (Although, the cursory argument might look a little something like this:
        The main revelation for Yahweh comes through the Bible
        The Bible can be demonstrated to get even the mortal world wrong
        The Bible can be demonstrated to be far from perfect and accurate
        Therefore its author was not perfect
        Also, claims of a God are not independently verified, and exist alongside demonstrable untruths)

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      • I see where you’re coming from but this is just making another excuse. I know excuses are all Yahwehists have for all the atrocious problems in justifying their belief, but there must come a time when we collectively say, “enough.” Rabbi Wolpe’s appeal to truth was good. No flat earther’s died or suffered terribly when they learnt the world was a sphere.

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      • “Yahwehists” is fun to say. “Yahwehists”.
        Obviously, my earlier defence looks like an excuse. The Bible is the only bit of evidence for that particular God (and all remaining evidence for generic God ideas is vague, ambiguous, poorly reasoned, wrong or only used alongside rhetorical artwork–or some combination of all of these).
        But PaW is right to point out that proving the Bible is a load of baloney (but not as tasty) doesn’t demonstrate Yahweh doesn’t exist. It merely (and I use the word “merely” quite wrongly here) calls into question the tenuous evidence Yahwehists (hehe) were using in the first place.
        Rationally, of course you should go “no evidence; no belief”. But you can’t say “no evidence means you should actively accept the non-existence of a thing” or “absence of evidence is evidence of absence”. So, if you are assuming that step you need to argue for it.
        (I’m happy with “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”; “a wise man apportions his beliefs to evidence” and “what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”, personally)

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      • Oh, I didn’t mean you were making an excuse, rather the theists who’d likely use it… like PeW. However, “proving the Bible is a load of baloney” (which it is) ruins the god debate as it’s the only source for this god. If some Malaysian tribe worshipped Yahweh (and therefore there were two sources) then things might be different, but as this is it for the Middle Eastern deity then its fate is tied to the single source… which is bunk.

        Yahwehist is fun to say, plus it’s a hell of a lot easier than saying “the three big Abrahamic religions.”

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      • Phrasing it more correctly; if the “eyewitnesses” who are claimed to have been the only people to directly observe Yahweh are shown to be non-existent, we have no reason to suppose that there’s anyone/anything to observe.

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      • You haven’t been reading my posts?

        All this time, you haven’t read my “Mrs God”? For shame, Sir!

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      • (Ye cats … that last was aimed at JZ dated May 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm … look where it’s ended up~!)

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  3. The conversation should begin and swiftly! Am waiting for theists to start reviewing the data and rationalizing as they have done for centuries now. I think even this will just be a dent on their armored car called faith. It will not have been nuked yet!

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    • Not with the current generation, they’re already lost, but its going to become increasingly difficult for anyone to openly believe in this childish myth and be taken seriously. Something akin to the flat earth theory.

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      • The current crop of religionists will give birth to the next crop and the pastors will not preach this, the rabbis may preach it but it will take time to make headway in the christian and muslim worlds.

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      • Muslims are screwed worse than Christians. Mo was perfect, said no wrong… and here we have evidence he was full of bullshit. I guess they’re going to hate the Jews even more after this!

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      • The Jews got us into this mess, I hope they clear their mess and the sooner the better for everyone involved! Mo and his followers better start editing the perfect Koran and the Christ followers better look for a good explanation for the plunder and rapin they have done to peoples minds since they got power through Constantine

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      • Actually, it was the modern day Syrians and Turks who got us into the mess. If it wasn’t for them inventing Christianity no one would have ever paid any attention to some regional deity worshiped by a tiny and obscure population in the eastern Med.

        But you’re right… the Jews now have a duty to help clean up the filth they were indirectly responsible for.

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  4. I had no idea there was such consensus on the matter. Really interesting and extremely well-documented. I actually assumed there was some part of truth to the Exodus and the story of the patriarchs. I am quite shocked to hear otherwise. Live and learn!

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  5. If it is all made up, those guys had a really boring imagination. At least the Greeks and the Egyptians had some pizazz. The best the Israelites could come up with is, ‘we were slaves, then we wandered in the desert for a while, then some walls fell down, and now we’re here.’

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    • I have to agree with you, Logan. Piss poor storytelling, and an awful lot of plagiarism… and that’s putting it mildly. L. Ron Hubbard might have been a little insane (in a capitalistic way) but at least he wrote a cracker of a story.

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    • Aliens most definitely built the pyramids! The History Channel says so, and it has “History” in its name, so its real, and factual, and historic, and… did i say real?

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  6. I can not let you do it t’would be such a shame
    No Abraham Aaron or Moses nothing will be the same

    You must understand of them I like to sing
    Death of my heroes oh where is thy sting

    Without Jacob’s Ladder I have no place to stand
    No Hallelujah Chorus leading to the Promised Land

    Without The Battle of Jericho I will surely have a fit
    Killing off old Joshua well you just cannot do it

    Go Down Moses and Let My Little Light Shine
    I will sing forever for they are so divine

    A really true believer cares nothing for the facts
    Embarrassment or not please PUT AWAY THAT AX

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  7. oooh, this is all very interesting! thank you for your thorough run-down.

    so here’s what keeps running through my head: why are there only two positions to take: literal, or fake?

    what’s wrong with enjoying a little metaphor now and then (obviously this question is for believers and non-believers alike)?

    if these rabbi’s and scholars know its metaphor, and they’re cool with it, no reason everyone else can’t join in the fun.

    trope is dope.

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    • I’m all for that… I LOVE folklore! Problems start arising, however, when idiots can’t distinguish between myth and reality and shoot themselves in Notre Dame Cathedral protesting gay marriage… like what happened yesterday.

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      • omg i read about that. normally i don’t bat an eye when people bite it, but that one took me by surprise!

        that’s where i’m going with the praising of the metaphorical (and my science questions from earlier). just because it’s figurative in the face of science doesn’t equal proof positive that ‘god-is-fake.’ perhaps we can promote it gently as just great lessons so the literalites will stop making up weird cults. i mean they accept jesus’ parables are fiction, no reason they can’t accept the bible is not non-fiction as well.

        I dunno, most god people i know get that it isn’t meant to be taken literally. maybe trying to fuse camps is not worth it-kinda hard to argue with crazy.

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      • You’re right, it doesn’t equal proof positive, but it does equal taking your foot off the accelerator. In fact, it equals getting out of the driver’s seat altogether. We spoke about it yesterday: I couldn’t care less if a person worshipped a broken fence post named “Alistair”… But I do care when that person shoots himself in the face in front of children because he thinks Alistair will smite everyone because two people want the right get married in the eyes of the law.

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      • haha actually this time it is not i like that analogy a lot. it’s kinda what i’ve been getting at – there must be a way to get people to slow down and think before going off all half cocked

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      • Well, you’re in the bible belt… step outside and start shouting: “Everyone, just calm the fuck down! Breathe, there seems to have been a large and somewhat embarrassing misunderstanding about something someone said a while ago. I repeat, breathe. Nose, mouth, nose, mouth. You there, madam, put the baby down. No, no… there’ll be sacrifices today. No magical sky being is angry. Nose, mouth, nose, mouth… “

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      • haha we actually say that a lot here. i joke a lot about our conservative folk, but in actuality iowa’s pretty damn liberal. we have our stupid moments, and of course the smaller the town the bigger the god, but even in our most theological driven areas, there’s a common rule to just let people be if they are hurting anyone.
        we have a nice balance of science and religion. we might love our bibles, but we get pretty excited about astronomy, and molecular findings. we used to be way out front with education, but the twerks in washington that buy our politicians are crashing that pretty quickly. so that’s a fight we’re having as of late.

        we tend to be compromising as a first choice and not-rock-the boaters, so my wanting to find some common ground comes naturally.

        it just doesn’t make any sense to me at all that science and god can’t play in the same sandbox.

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      • You really want an answer? Read anything being put out by the Discovery Institute, and/or Answers in Genesis. Read up on the Good News Club and how they’re ruining children’s lives and driving wedges between communities. These people want a theocracy, and science doesn’t exist in a theocratic state.

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      • but what i’m saying is that these groups are outliers-not mainstream thinking. why can’t we spread more mainstream thinking instead of just screaming about them? perhaps we are

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      • plenty of people. but you may take it in the hyperbolic vein it was intended if you wish 🙂

        i love your mocking

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    • Yeah, like Starwars, written by following “Heroes Journey” by Joseph Campbell. I.E. “ordinary life, the call, the challenge, the battle, the helpers” and so on. Campbell said he could see archetypes hanging around!

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      • A gem she is. And, how wonderful to meet another animal rescue friend. Thank you!

        Along the line of your article here, I should comment so as not to embarrass myself, it’s an interesting read. I’m not one for believing much of anything aside from acts of kindness speak volumes and tolerance is not a bad thing, lol.

        Again, nice meeting you.
        Paulette

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  8. Is there some new information here? I admit I only scanned your piece, having attended Torah portions and other studies, been to Israel, etc. etc. where what you seem to be saying is often written, believe, discussed, in museums, etc. I’m not being snarky, perhaps you have access to some new forensics and I missed it. Keep up the good work! p.s. even while I was in Israel, new artifacts were discovered near J’lem’s walls, and in the valley of Elah (David Goliath) at issue is the Near East politics prevent potentially useful (or useless) digs.

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      • Thanks, it’s so hard to keep up on all this stuff! You know ; ) Yeah the Asterah’s have been found all over, cute aren’t they? It’s good you’re educating people in your own flavor. When you have time read “Tribes of YHWH” by Gottwald ; ) An oldie but goodie that was a turning point in the 80s. but you may already be ahead in your edu on ancient Hebrew sociology. Will check out that site, thanks.

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      • re that site–Nothing jumps out new to me that I haven’t learned in seminary or in my own reading. Those of us who find this stuff interesting, for belief or disbelief, easily find Wellhausen, Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, Babylon (very cool Assyrian relics in NYC Metropolitan Museum!!) Jericho and Megiddo digs (been to Megiddo Tell–beautiful!) It’s crazy ain’t it? Albright and his peers–some of the best, picturesque writing and history…oh to have more eyeballs. It’s that humans can’t stop their interest no matter what they believe, in itself a study!

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      • You know this stuff waaay better than me. I’m impressed. Any suggested sites/articles would be hugely appreciated.

        I agree, not enough eyeballs… I just wish people would actually learn this stuff before doing crazy things. Did you hear about the guy who shot himself yesterday in Notre Dame? Madness

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      • oh yes, the suicide at a church altar. Heart breaking!

        I hate to admit it but Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive article on Jesus Seminars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar. Or look up Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Shelby Spong. These are religious leaders and writers, Spong and Episcopal priest, who write about the historical Jesus…and some wonder why they bother to call themselves Christian. Obviously, Bart Erdman ; )

        The Society of Biblical Literature, whose Int’l conference I attended and learned tons about ancient YHWH, Canaanites, Hittites–from archeological, sociologic and religious points of view.
        http://www.sbl-site.org

        Book, “Yahweh a Moral Monster?”
        There is proof, if one accepts it, that much of the language in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament was deliberately over the top–including saying the Amalikites were genocided.

        Israel Antiquities, for info on current digs. You see, even secular Jews want to know the true history, and invest great time and money in uncovering:
        http://www.antiquities.org.il/links_eng.asp?Module_id=80

        As an aside, I’ve been through Hezekiah’s tunnel, mentioned in the OT, but not until the last few decades was it physically proven troops broke into J’lem via it…part of it had been walled off, only discovered when archeaolgists were down there goofing around. Likewise the Pool of Siloam, discovered when diggers were working on sewer lines…but it can’t be totally unearthed due to politics however I stood in some water from the Gihon springs.

        Forget all this and just visit Israel!

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      • You, Miss, are a diamond! Thanks for a month’s reading!

        To tell you the truth I’m far more interested in visiting Iran/Iraq than Israel/Palestine. They really didn’t do anything interesting. Nothing that stands out in a human historical context. They didn’t advance anything, invent anything, or really add anything to the human endeavor. A site I really, really want to go to is Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. Now there is a spot worthy of a pilgrimage.

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  9. I think you are missing the point….
    “faith” does not require evidence…in fact….this new info only increases the amount of faith needed for faith… 😉

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    • Oh no, here we go again! 🙂

      Of course, you’re spot on… That is precisely how it’ll be viewed: as a test of faith. Reminds me of something William Lane Craig said recently. Someone asked him what he’d do if he were to receive irrefutable proof that god DIDN’T exist. He answered, “I’d pray immediately to god for guidance.” Right then and there he admitted he doesn’t care one bit for reality. Very, very, very odd.

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  10. I agree with you Holly. For those who love history, art, archaeology and so on, it’s not so much about proof as fun. For me though, atheism takes more faith that theism, because as you may guess I’m part scientist. I see God all day long, whether I want to or not. Meanwhile, many atheists demand proof of certain things, and when it’s given, respond it disproves faith…[head scratch].

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  11. I think we were talking about proof of belief in gods. For me right now, whatever is making all those leaves out their green, the sky bright, the children laughing–that’s proof for me right now.

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  12. Some would disagree but God gave me a head to use, so I do! Even Thomas Aquinas said as much. (but he later said all his words were straw…after having a theophany, so there ya go.) Many many religious don’t know what they believe in; that’s ok as long as they don’t hurt anybody. You may be pulling my leg again, so be it, but I enjoy your discourses regardless. ~Peace

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    • Nope, not pulling your leg. You are sensible. I don’t think you’re exactly on the right tracks, but you’re not a crazed apologist blinded by their devotion to the ether. The fact you were driven out of an evangelical church is actually pretty cool.

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  13. Ugh~! You forget ‘um two things, Kemo Sabe—

    1. There’s (widely recognised) the Middle East and history of the world as she’s actually spoke, and …

    2. there’s the Middle East and ‘history’ (?) of the Abrahamic religions—and never the twain shall meet.

    It will be nice for some if they did meet, but hey, why let facts stand in the way of a highly successful story? So—

    (Arggy rubs paws together here and grins wolfishly) (didn’t grow this face-full of ivory fpr nothing, you know)

    —I predict that it will make no (r) NO difference whatsoever; and will, as always, be business as usual.

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    • I humbly disagree, my four-legged friend. Granted, many of these quotes were taken from nearly 10 years ago, and despite articles in the NYT’s failed to gather good traction at the time. That’s OK… A slow rot is better than no rot. Just as long as this information is seeping into the foundations it’ll eventually ruin the entire structure.

      And yes, i do say Middle East with a sort of acidity, but that does not reflect my actual love for the region from a paleolithic, neolithic, Bronze Age perspective. One of my greatest heroes is in fact Cyrus II: a man deserving of the title, The Great.

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  14. Wow … finally finished all the comments. Now—

    More info please, on Alistair: He sounds good, and compassionate, and worthy of praise. How do we convert, where is His House, and where can we buy His holy books? Certainly better prospects than old YHVH (old hat now). Was Al a virgin too? Was/is He gay? Did he eat Molochs for breakfast, slay dragons … c’mon, the sky’s the limit here—you have a universe to save and umpty millions of disgruntled Christians, Jews, Allahists etc milling around looking for somewhere to go … the time is ripe, Man, strike now~! (If I’m one of the first to sign up, can I be a Cardinal?)

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    • Alistair’s birth is shrouded in mystery. Some say he was born of a giant stone, others say he always was, a star traveller who descended from the heavens riding a comet. Others still, a schism of believers, preach that he was coaxed into existence by a salamander who could fold time and space and thought creating a creator being was a cracking idea. Why he created a fence post none can say, but a passage in the Holy Splinters has been interpreted as such: “And he witnessed a nightingale fly into the trunk of the great Elm named Ted, and knock itself out it surely did. In the vision which unfolded a length of string said unto him, “Woggle-sploggle bump tut.” And whence consciousness returned he did, there was, and there shall always be.”

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      • Thank heavens you tidied that up, I was getting a bit lost (that’s the worst part of being a theologian).

        Do I have to sign anything (or worse—quote anything) to be a Cardinal?

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      • I had a few problemth with the thplinterth of trooth—that’th what you get for not having an oppthing thumb and having to bite everything to pick the buggerth up … changed my mind, don’t want to be a cardinal no more, it’th not worth the thacrfitheth

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  15. Oops … stupid speed-reading, you miss bits:

    a) Miss Holly has a point, and

    b) Gobekli Tepe will require an awesome amount of not-forthcoming explanations by conventional archaeology …

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  16. Christianity and Islam have the dubious honor of being two of the few theologies that teach their respective mythologies as the literal truth, and it is the belief in the “truth” of these teachings that is a major source of their power. Thus, they will actively challenge and dismiss and evidence to the contrary.

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    • Regretfully true. Rabbi Wolpe believes (and i agree with him) that Jews can pull through this exposure of truth. So its all an elaborate myth… who cares! Christians and Muslims are, however, in a real bind.

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  17. There some speculation that the Pentateuch was written by the scribes Ezra and Nehemiah after the Babylonian captivity. I have no proof per se, but it could make sense, the whole concocted story, to give the Jews a sense of identity.

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    • I’d say you’re spot on, Hans. The monotheistic god, the six-part Judaic creation story, the cardinal couple Mashya and Mashyana (Adam and Eve), the duality of the universe, the human condition, the concept of Free Will, and even the End Times prophecies with a Saoshyant – a saviour figure – were all lifted in their entirety from the far older Zoroastrianism which would have influenced the Hebrew elite greatly after the Babylonians routed Judah and relocated many from the educated classes back east for a few hundred years until freed by the Zoroastrian, Cyrus II. Even the first name of the Hebrew god, Shaddai (the Destroyer), originates from the Sumerian pantheon.

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  18. Wow, just finished your comments (extended comments) and I have to say you guys really know how to make some-one feel as thick as a brick (you know the song?). I’ve been to Israel, lived there for a few months, learned Hebrew, am Jewish (sort of, isay sort of because my great grandfather was the first to marry a gentile) by heritage, I even visited all the historical places like Meggido, Jerusalem, and yet I obviously learned not a thing. So all I can add to this discussion is a sullen ‘oy vey!’ and be done with it. Thank you for the entertainment however, but this place is not for me. Ta ra as they say up north.

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      • I’m afraid I got sand in all the wrong places, it’s all that walking across deserts looking for artefacts, particularly the tomb of Abraham which apparently is somewhere in the Syrian desert, although the chances of ever finding it are almost zero, in fact you’ve got more chance of stumbling over Jesus’ left sandal (in fact I think I saw the last time I was in the old city of Jerusalem tucked discreetly in a gap of the Buraq wall. I shall build a sand-castle if I may in the shape of the temple mount and hope that no-one decides to stamp on it.

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      • If you do please tell Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon (AKA Rael) so he can finally build his alien embassy and we can welcome the Elohim back to earth! The Israeli’s aren’t playing ball.

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      • Who said they ever left? You know good old Enoch was on to something all those years ago, even though I think he was off his head when he decided to put pen to paper. The Syrians too believed that we came from another planet. With all the new discoveries of potential signs of life from Mars, who knows, maybe there’s some truth to it. They believed that one of them would return somewhen in the middle of July, somewhere in the middle of the desert to take up royal seat once the previous King/Messiah popped his clogs. There are links with both Abraham and Mr.Christus here, don’t remember the details right now.

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      • Ok, I stand informed and reprimanded for my apparent heathen ineptitude, god how to make a girl feel welcome around here! Although I’m sure I have come across him before in one of my many books – I used to read a lot! My speciality is Norse Mythology truth be told and I dabble a little in Ancient Egyptian myth and general stuff.

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  19. Pingback: Creationists at a Crossroads | Class Warfare Blog

  20. Regarding the mention of Einstein way up the scroll, “evil is the absence of good” is official Catholic dogma. Could that be a coincidence? And on pessimistic note, Freud said that as long as wishful thinking and the fear of death exist, there will be religion. Good luck with encouraging rot.

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  21. Once again,a brilliant piece from you and fascinating discussions in the comments. Love Ladysighs’s song and Ishaya who echoes my feelings… Thanks again for a good read!

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  22. I don’t know. I get lost in the historical debates of who really existed and who didn’t. For me, the power is in the stories more than anything, the symbolism and Joseph Conrad-esque archetypal characters more than historical figures. Pinning anything down in history limits it — to a human body, a time, a place, a set of cultural conditions, a history and a future that were specific to that person or thing. Like, I’m not interested in whether or not the Immaculate Conception is physically possible; who cares. But I am interested in the idea of the spirit entering the human animal in a new way, in a way that requires an acceptance and conscious Yes. I will bear God. I will bear the tragedy and mystery and agreement to “know” nothing with the rational, post-enlightenment brain, but with a different kind of knowing. To describe the elephant along with 10 other blind people trying to describe the same elephant. No person or religion or story will ever lay claim to getting it right. And in that way, of course spirituality cannot be understood, stood under, held up with the brain. No. It’s an entirely different way of knowing, the same way I know that I’m not fully responsible for what I create; it comes through me, not of me. But don’t ask for proof of that because I will fail miserably!!! 🙂

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    • I’d never ask that of you. Spirituality is a special thing and comes in as many guises as there are people. Your pottery is all i need to know that you’ve got your head on straight 🙂

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    • It’s an entirely different way of knowing

      I have never understood this proposition.

      • If a belief checks out against reality, then I know it to be true.
      • if it doesn’t check out against reality, then I know my belief to have been false.
      • If it can’t be checked, then I cannot know either way—I have an untested belief, a hunch, nothing more. All I can know for sure is that I don’t know.

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      • Exactly. That is exactly right. You have to agree to “not know” in the way you would a scientific or physical law. A “belief” vs. a “theory” or “speculation”.

        Because faith isn’t about that and cannot be measured with the same criteria. It’s an extreme letting go: of control, of idea, of a certainty that everything in life IS measurable with data and experiments and facts and on and on and on. Think about reading poetry… sometimes the words themselves don’t make sense in a logical way, yet you “know” something about the subject or the writer or your own life by reading it (if done correctly). If you pin that poem down to rules of grammar, semantics, sentence structure… blah. It’s only that. The flower exists beyond its botanical parts. Right?

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      • Aye, I see what you mean, but I wasn’t talking about reductionism. For a poem to be meaningful to the reader, there has to be some amount of shared “experience.” A common culture, commonly understood hints as to what the between-the-lines meaning is and so forth. If the reader takes a meaning which doesn’t fit that shared body of knowledge—can’t be checked against the reality of shared culture—then the reader is “wrong,” provided we stipulate that wrong means “not the meaning the author intended.” If the reader takes a reading which works within the culture-framework, but which isn’t what the author intended to portray, then (assuming we haven’t asked a reader who couldn’t spot a metaphor in a metaphorical bathtub full of metaphorical things) no matter how beautiful the phrasing and so on, it’s badly written.

        The checks-against-reality are still there; they’re merely not employed in the formalised, structured way in which maths and science employ them.

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      • Well, sure, there’s something to be said for author’s intent vs. reader’s experience; in my opinion, good poetry (or art in general) will communicate on all sorts of levels, whether or not there is a shared experience. It’s thrilling when someone “gets” something from your art that you didn’t intend. I can feel the pain of war when I look at Picasso’s Guernica even tho I’ve never lived in Spain or been a soldier (although those experiences would add new layers of meaning).

        It’s the flowerness of a flower (beyond its physical attributes and perceivable substance), or the communication of art, writing, poetry, or a sunset for that matter, that comes closer to approximating what a faith-based belief is about. Neither right nor wrong, but absolutely not in the realm of provable. I’m no philosopher or historical scholar, but I know from personal experience of a life that exists beyond what the five senses can interpret. Dreams. Visions. Hearing words when no one has spoken them. Mysticism. These aren’t new phenomena, they’ve just been driven into the realm of “occult,” “psychic” or even “schizophrenic” by post-modern, post-Renaissance rationalism, the dawning of “reason” which is all about dialectic argument. Which doesn’t really change what they are, just makes them easier to label and dismiss because the either-or, black and white, yes-or-no does not apply. So, even for an atheist, think about the image, just the image, of Christ on the cross… holding the opposites, a good thief and bad thief on either side, east and west, horizontal and vertical, spirit and human, a crossroads where everything belongs, a holding of opposites. Neither good nor bad, but both. That’s the third way.
        Such interesting dialogue!

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  23. I certainly agree that many works of art are either deliberately left up to the viewer to insert their own meaning or might gain more meaning in some eyes, by dint of different experience. There are still checks and limits though. Anyone reading I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud and taking it as a sub-textual diatribe against the use of poison gas in warfare (to take a ludicrous example), for instance, would be flat-out wrong, no matter how many subtleties about the glory of nature can be read into it, but which Wordsworth never intended. Thus the meaning may still be checked against reality.

    Would you be able to make a reasonable guess at the subject of Guernica, if war, explosions and buildings were alien to you, and weren’t part of the cultural background you share with Picasso?

    Re dreams, visions and so on being “beyond what the five senses can interpret,” I’m no neuroscientist, but it seems to me that they’re still interpreted by the brain as sight, sound etc.

    And this kinda takes me back to my original point. We can either guess what creates visions and so on, test the guess against reality and be right, guess, test and be wrong, or not be able to come up with a way to test them, in which case all that we know is that we don’t know how they’re created.

    If we were to, for instance, say “a god creates them,” but couldn’t think of a way to test if that were so, then all we’d have would be a guess.

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  24. Pingback: Religion, Morality and The Greatest Deception Of All Time | My Heathen Heart

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  31. I step away for a moment and come back to this: the dismantling of both Christianity and Islam in one JayZee post. Not a bad day’s work, John. Not bad at all.

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  32. Ark re-blogged it… He likes to dangle annoying things in front of evangelicals

    I do no such thing. Dangling annoying things, indeed! Besides, my evangelicals are fully-functional and ascetically pleasing, I’ll have you know!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. If you’ve ever seen Mel Brooks’ HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART I, you would’ve seen that Moses did exist. Unfortunately, he was something of a klutz and dropped 5 of the original 15 Commandments. But seeing is believing, and as for the minor detail that film hadn’t been invented yet, remember that with God, all things are possible.

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  34. Pingback: TITBIT – CASSANDRIC

  35. Who needs any manner of scientific ‘proof’ when it’s in the Bible?

    Have you never heard “… and that’s the Bible truth!”? Your blog against The Good Book (and several hundred zillion devotees), your ‘truths’ are waaaaaayyy outvoted.

    Next please …

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